With the year 2015 upon us and Microsoft Convergence just over a month away, it is a good time to review the newly released changes to Microsoft Dynamics AX with Cumulative Update 8 (CU8). The release of CU8 includes many new or enhanced features, including an integration with Microsoft Exchange Server, and several standard updates and hotfixes.
Cumulative Update 8 has added increased functionality to many of the modules within Dynamics AX 2012 R3, including Human Resources, Procurement and Sourcing, Production Control, Project Management and Accounting, Retail, Transportation Management, and Warehouse Management.
In this article, I’m going to focus on two of the more interesting facts relating to Cumulative Update 8: Integration to Microsoft Exchange Server and Updates using Life Cycle Services.
1) Integration to Microsoft Exchange Server
The most notable change with CU8 is the integration to the Microsoft Exchange Server. This feature allows the user to synchronize contacts, appointments and tasks in Dynamics AX directly to Microsoft Exchange Server, rather than having to sync to Microsoft Outlook.
Through the use of the Microsoft Outlook or Exchange Server setup Wizard, the administrator will need to configure the Integration and the user will need to enter Exchange credentials.
The integration allows the user to sync using Microsoft Exchange Online in Office 365 instead of Microsoft Outlook. This update resolves previous problems with having to install Outlook on a remote desktop server with Dynamics AX in order for it to integrate and sync.
2) Lifecycle Services
Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Cumulative Update 8 utilizes the power of Life Cycle Services to “slipstream” the update package for a new environment. Slipstreaming means that updates are automatically detected and included as part of the installation, reducing the amount of time needed to install Dynamics AX 2012 R3 for the first time.
Life Cycle Services is also utilized to analyze the CU8 update package to determine how updates will affect customizations in an existing AX 2012 R3 environment. This analysis is used to identify potential conflicts and provides an understanding of how much customization needs to be done. Once analyzed, CU8 can be downloaded using the Update Installer found within Life Cycle Services.
The next major version, AX 7 or “Rainier”, is expected to be released sometime during 2015 and will include increased functionality around mobile solutions (including integrations to non-Microsoft products and devices) and cloud optimized platforms.
Microsoft Convergence is in March and will offer a new and exciting look at the direction of Dynamics AX!
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